While we are once again meeting in person, there are still some changes in our Worship Service to be aware of. At this time, all elementary aged kids are joining us for worship time in our sanctuary. Following the music, kids are invited to join Pastor Bridget in the Children's Church room for a children's lesson. Parents will pick up their kids in the children's church room immediately following the service.
What would it look like to give our kids and students a compelling faith? What if we challenged our kids and students to know something more than just a long list of people and places? What if our kids and students regularly encountered God? What if our kids and students learned to hear God’s voice and respond? What if our kids and students brought the kingdom of God here? How would they be changed? How would we be changed?
Arlington First Church desires to see these questions answered. Our goal is to grow spiritually healthy families. We would like to foster a new generation that has an active relationship with God and who are looking for ways to bring the kingdom of God here.
Our children participate in a vibrant and active Children's Church lesson on most Sundays. However, we also feel it is important that our children have interaction with all ages, and experience the life of the church through engagement in the Sunday worship service. So once a month our kids join us for Family Worship Sundays.
This following Sundays will be Family Worship Sundays:
January 12, 2020 (Shepherd's Sabbath Retreat)
February 16, 2020 (Women's Retreat)
March 15, 2020
April 12, 2020 (Easter Sunday)
May 10, 2020 (Mother's Day)
June 14, 2020
June 21, 2020 (Father's Day)
July 26, 2020
August 9, 2020 (VBS Sunday)
December 20, 2020 (Christmas Sunday)
Tru is a powerful curriculum that helps children and their families connect to God, find their place in His big story, and respond to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this curriculum, children experience and learn more about God through Scripture, storytelling, prayer and discussion. They are also given an opportunity to reflect on what the Holy Spirit is teaching them as they respond to God through creative activities and worship response times. Finally, before leaving, children gather together to pray and read together a blessing of scripture or words of encouragement.
We emphasize fostering and growing in our spiritual disciplines. Our children participate in various Bible reading challenges, and share weekly how they have been growing from God's word, as well as verses they have learned. We emphasize reaching out to others and sharing our faith with those who do know yet know about God, and so in our small group time, we invite kids to share ways they have talked to others about Jesus, and/or ways we can pray for their friends. Finally, we also emphasize the spiritual discipline of tithing, and invite the kids to participate in our weekly offering time. Weekly we encourage one other in our spiritual walk. And we celebrate together ways we are growing in Christ.
Our role as parents and the church is to create environments that foster the work of the Holy Spirit in our homes and at church. We structure our Parenting Intensives and Weekend Celebration Services around 10 environments that foster faith. These environments allow for encountering God, knowing God, and responding to God’s work.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s chosen teacher; it is he who causes spiritual growth and formation when and as he chooses. As such, we have articulated ten distinct environments that our ministries will help cultivate in the church and at home. We desire to create spiritual space, which we refer to as an environment, in which God’s spirit can move freely. Following is a brief explanation of these ten environments:
We live in a world that denies absolute truth and yet God’s word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on the knowing God, his word, and a relationship with him through Christ.
Biblical content needs a practical living expression in order for it to be spiritually impacting. Knowledge is the “what” while modeling is the “how.” This environment serves as a hands-on example of what it means for children to put their faith into action.
3. LOVE | RESPECT
Without love, our faith becomes futile. This environment recognizes that children need an environment of love|respect in order to be free to both receive and give God’s grace. Innate in this environment is the value that children are respected because they embody the imago dei (image of God). We must speak to them not at them, and we must commit to an environment where love and acceptance are never withheld due to one’s behavior.
4. FAITH COMMUNITY
God designed us to live in community and to experience him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. The faith community serves to create an environment to equip and disciple parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to bring a richness of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer children an identity.
This environment highlights who we are in Christ. According to Ephesians 1, we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ. This conviction allows children to stand firm against the counter-identities that the world will offer in order to bring them destruction.
The power of the Big God Story impacts our lives by giving us an accurate and awe-inspiring perspective into how God has been moving throughout history. It further compels us to see how God is using every person’s life and is creating a unique story that deserves to be told for God’s glory.
This environment captures the ability to take ownership for one’s life, gifts, and resources before God. In addition a child must be challenged to take responsibility for his or her brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for those who are spiritually lost. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit would use this environment to allow each child to be nurtured within a kingdom-minded worldview.
8. COURSE CORRECTION
This environment flows out of Hebrews 12:11-13 and is the direct opposite of punishment. Instead, Biblical discipline for a child encompasses: a) a season of pain, b) the building up in love, and c) a vision of a corrected path for the individual with the purpose of healing at its core.
This posture of the heart asks the question, “what needs to be done?” it allows the Holy Spirit to cultivate a sensitivity to others with a cause that is bigger than one individual life. It helps fulfill the mandate that as Christ-followers we are to view our lives as living sacrifices that we generously give away!
10. OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
As children and students are challenged to step out of their comfort zone from an early age, they learn and experience a dependence on the Holy Spirit to equip and strengthen them beyond their natural abilities and desires. We believe that this environment will cultivate a generation that, instead of seeking comfort, seeks a radical life of faith in Christ.